In my past life (as a practitioner in the community sector for the last 15 years) I tallied up the number of grant applications I have written.  On average every year, I wrote 2 a month!

Most grants represented 800 – 1500 words; less these days with online forms.  Before I even got to the point of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), each represented hours of thinking and preparation to get the right angle, pitch and budget.  It was so much work, but grants are a numbers game and in order to get support for one project, sometimes I’d have to put in 4 or 5 grants before I finally secured any funding.

These days, amongst many other things, we help others write grants.  Our writers come from diverse backgrounds, many of whom are intimately familiar with what governments, philanthropists or corporates are looking for.  In recent times, the funding landscape has changed quite dramatically and writers need to pay attention and active to keep up with these changes.  Funding is now so competitive, organisations need to make themselves stand out.  By asking the right questions, we can get the right words down on paper for you.

Any simple Google search will show you that there are lots of grant tips out there, but how relevant these are in today’s changing landscape, is up for discussion.  To the uninitiated, grants and funding applications can seem a little intimidating, which is why we have so many experienced writers working with us, to guide you through the process.

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Personally, we prefer to use the three www’s.

Woo words:  do you know what the funder wants?  Do you have statistics, evidence, narrative that links what you are doing or want to do, with the objectives they’ve set?  Are you familiar with the policies or people who play a key role in decision-making; particularly if that decision is made locally.  It never hurts to ask questions because it only shows you are interested, committed and serious about your submission.

Wow words:  how does your project or service stand out?  What differentiates it from others, highlights it’s sustainability or demonstrates the very real impact it can have.  How does your project or service support others; or link to different initiatives in your community.  Collaboration is a wow word, especially when it shows you are sharing resources or avoiding duplication, but it’s a word that can be lost in the competitive process of applying for grants.  The questions we ask show you how to avoid this.

Winning words:  budget, buzz words and good form.  Does your budget contain contra? Have you secured additional support, including volunteer hours, that you can list.  Have you thought about the $ you are asking for?  Online forms can be a challenge with word limitations.  Have you made the most of the words you’ve used, including all the buzz words funders may be looking for, and if possible, linking them to demonstrations of what you mean including web-links or other documents.  Have you considered sending a thank you letter if you aren’t successful, so that you can obtain feedback and build bridges for future funding?  Meanwhile, convert unsuccessful grants into a proposal or prospectus for corporate funding.  What you want is important, so we encourage you never to waste a word.

The three www’s are our way of what focusing on what is important, but there is method behind the alliteration!  They stop you from focusing on the deadline (with our writers, you’ve got the time to get it done), and instead, make sure what we get down on paper represents the very best of you, and what your organisation is seeking to do.

Not every funding application is going to be successful, but with our expertise, we can help to tip the scales in your favour a little.

Co-founder, Lana de Kort